When you get 600 of the world’s best young robot-building teams together in one place, the difference between success and disappointment can be razor thin.
After making it to the semifinals of their Carver Division on Saturday, Team 1717’s three-robot alliance could not muster enough points to make the final.
However, the D’Penguineers did win a major engineering award for their robotic creation — the Innovation in Control Award from Rockwell Automation, given to a team that showed creativity and excellence in robot control systems.
The award was excellent, but team members will fly home a bit disappointed, knowing they had a robot that was the equal of any in the finals.
Still, the entire team is proud of their accomplishments — a regional championship in Ventura, a top-four finish at the tough Long Beach regional, a trip to the World Championships, a major award and a lifetime of memories.
“It’s been great and I’ve had a lot of fun,” said team member David Gil Bueno, echoing many other students’ feelings.
“We got to see and learn about what people from around the world spent months of their lives doing, just like we did,” added Owen Mackenzie.
As for Saturday’s on-field action, double trouble in the first of the three semifinal games — their partner robot from Team 971 from Mountain View High School, had to be shut down midway and then a point-scoring stack of boxes toppled — led to a very low 89-point score.
DPEA put up more than 200 points in the other two semifinal matches, tops in the division, but they were not enough to overcome the tough first game.
Team 1717 flies home Sunday, after which it’s back to the books as seniors prepare for finals, AP tests and the next chapters in their lives.
Look for information about the upcoming Celebration of Robotics at DPEA, which will give the public a chance to see the 2015 robot in action and meet the members of the team.
— Jim Buckley is a communications mentor for the Dos Pueblos Engineering Academy. He was assisted on this story by mentors Annette Shimada and Jack Meyer and student Yesenia Terriquez.